Female inmate accidentally put into male cell block at Marion County Jail

Marion County Jail
(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – For the second time in a matter of eight months, a Marion County Jail inmate was put in the wrong cell block.

This time it was a woman found in a block full of men.

“We’re still sorting through the facts of the issues and how it did transpire, but it did happen,” said Marion County Jail Commander Gary Tingle.

An investigation is underway to figure out how it happened. The inmate called her mother to say she was put in a cell block with all men. Her mother then called the jail to alert them.

“It’s uncalled for. There’s no reason this should be happening,” said Roxanna Gregory.

But Tuesday morning it did happen. Gregory said she got a frantic call from her daughter, 28-year-old Gina Barger. Barger was arrested March 19 after she failed to appear in court on a theft charge.

“Gina said, ‘Mom, I went to medical to have my toe fixed, when they brought me back, they brought me into a man’s cell block and I’m with complete men,'” Gregory said.

What’s alarming, Barger’s mom told 24-Hour News 8 the jail didn’t even know about the problem.

“I called the jail and made them aware that I had received a call from my daughter and she was in a wrong cell block,” she said.

“It is. It is embarrassing,” said Commander Tingle.

Commander Tingle said someone failed.

“We’re going through a lot of electronic things that we have; clock around system that we’ve got to try to determine, one, how it happened and two, just how long she was in there,” he said.

Commander Tingle said procedures were put in place after a similar mistake last year. Back in July, I-Team 8 was the first to report a male inmate was put in an all-female cell block. Deputies told 24-Hour News 8 that block had just been switched from male to female. After that incident, procedures were put in place to prevent it from happening again.

“As to how this was able to happen again, with these corrective measures in position. The block was labeled, so we’re trying to sort through as to how that could possibly have happened,” Commander Tingle said.

The jail acknowledges the mistake, but for Barger’s family, it’s not enough.

“Would the judge felt the same way if my sister stood up and said she made a mistake. Would that have been acceptable to just say she made a mistake. So they can just say they made a mistake and we have to be OK with that,” said Rachel Rosa, Barger’s sister.

After his investigation is complete, the Sheriff says he will consider disciplining those responsible. He is also considering a new color jump suit for certain levels of female inmates and designating certain areas of the jail as female only.

Commander Tingle said they should have the investigation completed sometime this week.

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